Australia v Pakistan: ‘Battle with Afridi will be crucial’ in T20 World Cup semis – Finch

Australia face in-form Pakistan pace attack in semifinal in Dubai on Thursday

Australia captain Aaron Finch has said he was never worried about the form of batsman David Warner. AFP
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Aaron Finch says the Powerplay battle between Australia’s top order and the in-form Shaheen Afridi could be decisive in the T20 World Cup semifinal in Dubai.

Australia will meet Pakistan in the last four at the Dubai International Stadium on Thursday.

Pakistan have been in stunning form in the competition so far, with five rousing wins in the Super 12 stage. Australia have themselves bounced back in confident fashion after suffering a hefty defeat to England.

Finch, the Australia captain, thinks the new-ball battle against Shaheen could prove vital to their prospects of making the final.

“I think what we have seen over the course of the tournament is how important the Powerplay is for both batting and bowling,” Finch said.

“I think the stats around the middle overs and the death overs are pretty similar throughout, but the Powerplay definitely holds the key.

“Shaheen has been in really good form, so that is going to be a crucial battle, no doubt.”

Finch accepts the fact Pakistan will be regarded as favourites going into the game. However, he points out that his side have been written off before, yet are still in contention for the title.

“Pakistan have played brilliant cricket,” Finch said. “The way they have gone in the Powerplay with bat and ball has been really crucial to their success.

“I think in this format of the game, if you look over the past few series, everyone had written us off by now. Read into that what you like.”

The challenge posed by Pakistan at the start of the innings will be another test of the revival of David Warner. The opener endured a miserable time in the lead in to this competition.

His form in the Indian Premier League was so bad for under-performing Sunrisers Hyderabad that he lost his place in the squad entirely, and had to watch the final matches of that tournament first from his hotel room, then from the stands.

However, he has found form again since joining up with Australia. He hit two half centuries in the Super 12 phase of the World Cup, including 89 not out against West Indies last time out.

“I was never worried one bit about David’s form – he is one of the all-time great batsmen of our era,” Finch said.

“You can look at it as though he had a really lean IPL. But the two halves of the IPL were a long way apart. If you miss out a couple of times and the end of the first part, then in the first couple of games in Dubai, it looks as though there is a pattern there.

“I certainly wasn’t worried. He is all class, he is training hard, he is mentally fresh. It is great to see the best of him, fit and firing.”

Updated: November 10, 2021, 8:05 AM